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SI mock: ’Bama DT to Lions; Cook to Broncos in Round 2

The Detroit News

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke unveiled his updated NFL mock draft Wednesday — including projections for the second round this time around — but his outlook for the Lions’ top pick hasn’t changed.

Burke still has the Lions taking Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson with the 16th pick, just like he did last month.

“The knock on Robinson is that he is limited as an interior pass rusher,” Burke wrote of the 6-foot-4, 312-pound Robinson, who had 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss as a junior last season. “Well, the Lions have multiple DTs who can help there (Caraun Reid, Gabe Wright, Tyrunn Walker if he re-signs), but they’re shy on early-down bulk. Haloti Ngata walks, and Robinson replaces him as a starter.”

Burke also has the Lions addressing their defense with their second-round pick, selecting Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers at No. 46.

“... Brothers can be a Stephen Tulloch replacement — now or in 2017,” Burke wrote.

The 6-1, 235-pound Brothers led the nation with 152 tackles last season, including seven straight games with 10 or more. He also had 12 tackles for loss.

Likewise, Burke has the Colts stick with Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin at No. 18.

“Something about this fit has made it an easy one to make in our recent mock drafts,” Burke wrote. “Perhaps it’s that the Colts have no choice but to upgrade their offensive line after a miserable 2015 season. Or, perhaps it’s that Conklin has the wherewithal to start as a rookie at either guard or tackle.”

Two others Spartans appear to have taken a tumble since Burke’s last mock draft. Defensive end Shilique Calhoun dropped from No. 31 to No. 51, going to the Jets as a “versatile chess piece to play outside in Todd Bowles’ creative defense.”

Quarterback Connor Cook, meanwhile, is heading to the Broncos at No. 63 — the final pick of the second round — after Burke mentioned him as a potenital first-rounder via trade in his January mock.

That still could happen, Burke writes, though he has three other quarterbacks going in the first round.

“... I’m of the belief that Denver will take a quarterback somewhere even if it keeps Peyton Manning or (more likely) Brock Osweiler,” Burke wrote. “(Coach) Gary Kubiak should see in Cook moldable qualities, including that he can thread the needle while on the move.

“Cook’s current situation is a tricky one. There is too much negative chatter about his personality to ignore, but how much of it is being pushed by teams hoping to see him drop? In this class, I still peg him as a Round I candidate, right in step with (North Dakota State quarterback Carson) Wentz from a talent perspective.”

The NFL draft is April 28-30.